January 20 Weekend Forecast: 'Split', 'xXx', 'The Founder'

January 2017 will be a great month for low-budget horror.

We correctly forecasted last week that The Bye Bye Man would overperform due to last-minute social media buzz and the holiday weekend. Based on a high Pilot Social Metric of 3.5x, our adjustment model predicted $13.1M instead of the $9.7M mean prediction from our standard model.

This week, data from our Sentinel Audience Relationship Management (ARM) software led us to give Split a Pilot Social Metric of 3.9x. Similar to The Bye Bye Man, we believe that last-minute social media buzz will propel Split to overperform, especially because the film is bolstered by positive early reviews and the starpower of James McAvoy. Our adjustment model projects $36.1M.

Below, you’ll find our predictions for this weekend. All dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest thousand, and represent domestic opening only. A larger confidence interval may represent greater variance.

Title Lower Bound Mean Upper Bound Adjusted Estimate
Split $21,332,000 $25,938,000 $30,545,000 $36,054,000
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage $21,529,000 $22,437,000 $23,345,000 N/A
The Founder $3,793,000 $3,977,000 $4,161,000 N/A


Playing the female lead across James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy is gaining fast recognition in the horror genre. Her breakthrough role was in 2015’s The Witch and she also played the titular character in last fall’s Morgan. Split is also a return to form for the formerly maligned writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, whose previous team-up with horror impresario Jason Blum in the 2015 film The Visit yielded a domestic opening weekend of $25M against a $5M budget, with a no-name cast to boot.

Coming into this week, it was expected that Split would match the box office performance of The Visit, but it looks like the higher-profile cast and high-concept premise are generating an unprecedented level of social media word-of-mouth buzz.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

xXx faces a big case of sequelitis. The first film debuted to mixed reviews in 2002 and was followed by a panned sequel in 2005 that failed to bring back both director Rob Cohen and lead Vin Diesel. The ensuing 12 years likely haven’t helped cement the franchise’s reputation. However, Vin Diesel’s recent popularity in the Guardians of the Galaxy and The Fast and the Furious franchises might bolster this film.

Social media growth is steady but not on par with Split. Our team calculated a Pilot Social Metric of 2.0x, which signifies modest but not abnormal activity, and we believe our standard short-term model is appropriate for this forecast. The franchise’s previous entry opened to $12.7M in 2005, so we project xXx: The Return of Xander Cage to just clear $20M.

The Founder

The McDonald’s biopic opens to a limited 1,100 theaters but can rely on strong early reviews and a decorated cast to carry it to an appropriately moderate opening. Lack of awards chatter and competition against more well-known historical dramas will make it difficult for The Founder to expand.

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